Love of Ultrasound Article by Shaunna Smith

It is hard to believe that anyone can fall in love with a job that involves spending large amounts of time in a darkened and warm room, staring intently at a screen filled with grey pixelated blobs. Yet there is in excess of 3,000 of us in the UK who are lucky enough to call this our profession. So what makes ultrasound so great?

To me, it is because every day I am making a difference. My role in a patients care pathways is paramount. It can mean the difference between a patient receiving treatment and not receiving treatment. It can mean the difference between a patient having further investigations or it can provide patients with the relief that their symptoms are not worrying. It can help ensure patients get the care that they require. It can give the answers to worried family members as to why their relative has been unwell. It can help a person to understand how changes to their lifestyles can improve their morbidity. My niche means that I am one of the few people who can interpret what I see on the screen in-front of me, so I am the individual who is making that difference.

Being a sonographer puts the socialite in me to good use; I am always communicating with someone. I am communicating with patients about their symptoms, with doctors about the patients results, with my colleagues to devise action plans and with students to pass on knowledge both verbally and electronically when writing up results. Being a sonographer means that every day is different, with opportunities to become a better practitioner and individual each day. Continual advancements in technology mean I never stop learning; there is always a new technique, a new speciality or a new pathology to assess.

Being a sonographer means I get to become a detective every day, scrutinising each organ and each symptom to come to best possible conclusion for why a patient is troubled. Being a sonographer means I am involved in some of the most important moments in a patient’s life. Being a sonographer means I endure emotional lows and emotional highs, but the lows are what make our job so important and the highs are what make it so incredible. It is a privilege to be able to introduce a parent to their child for the first time, to reassure them in the majority of cases when their child is healthy and to help them prepare when their child is not.

I may be biased, and I’m certainly passionate, but, for me, being a Sonographer is the best profession I could have chosen in the world.

Article by Shaunna Smith, Clinical Specialist Sonographer at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust